Category: Audio Interviews

Mel Bentley with Jay Besemer

2up_bentley_besemer
Mel Bentley and Jay Besemer

This interview between Mel Bentley and Jay Besemer is part of the Housework at Chapterhouse series, a conversation between friends and with the history of this space. Housework is work undervalued, invisible, unpaid. It is classed, raced and gendered. It is also the work that allows life, it is “reproductive.” It is intimate. It’s necessary. It’s weird. It has been precarious. This is the kind of work we want to recognize.

Chapter and Verse was a series by Ryan Eckes and Stan Mir that ran for nine years at Chapterhouse and supported young writers and established voices. It supported us. There was something expansive and generous about this room that operated outside funding and institutions. We want to keep and expand that spirit.

Continue reading

ManifeStation 2: Anaïs Duplan & Kione Kochi

IMG_3347
ManifeStation poster outside Flux Factory (photo credit: Kione Kochi)

In the second part of this series, artists Kione Kochi and Anaïs Duplan discuss the role of biography and autobiography in the writing of manifestos and how their own biographies influence them during ManifeStation, a temporary manifesto-writing service held at Flux Factory. Read the first part in this series in the February issue.  

  1. Choose one of the people we interviewed. In your own words, tell his/her/their life-story. Then read an excerpt from his/her/their manifesto that you think correlates particularly well to that person’s biography.

Anaïs Duplan: Jack Grange had, perhaps, the most enthralling biography – and of course, Jack Grange isn’t his real name; he asked us not to mention him by name, because he used to be a practicing physician. One of the first things he said was, “There’s no use talking about the future because it doesn’t exist.” It was at that moment that I leaned forward in my chair and everything else in the room disappeared for me.
Continue reading

The People: Joseph Mosconi & Feliz Lucia Molina (Ep. 17)

The People with Insert Blanc Editor and Publisher Mathew Timmons and Insert Blanc Artist Ben White, features the voices and ideas of The People that make up the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, the west coast, and beyond on KCHUNG 1630AM every 3rd Sunday at 3pm and podcast on iTunes as The People Radio. The People is me, The People is you, The People is we, and You Can Too! … like a Broken Record magically repaired. In this issue of The Conversant, we feature The People episode 17 with Joseph Mosconi and Feliz Lucia Molina. —Mathew Timmons and Ben White

The People: Joseph Mosconi & Feliz Lucia Molina Ep. 17

Originally broadcast on Sunday, July 20, 2014

Joseph Mosconi and Feliz Lucia Molina discuss each other’s work and the preloaded nostalgia of Full House. Plus Diana Arterian delivers William Blake action in the very first Notes From The People. Music from Richard Bott and The Fucked Up Beat and as always our insterstitial music is the song “Ocfif” by Lewis Keller.

Joseph Mosconi is the grandson of Italian orange growers and piano tuners from the dusty town of Bakersfield, CA. He is the author of Fright Catalog from Insert Blanc Press and Demon Miso / Fashion in Child from Make Now Press.

Feliz Lucia Molina is the daughter of Filipino immigrants. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles and is the author of Undercastle from Magic Helicopter Press. She is also co-author of The Wes Letters with Ben Segal and Brett Zehner from Outpost 19.

Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Stacy Doris

Stacy Doris
Stacy Doris

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

This month, I’d like to feature an interview from the fall of 2004 with poet and translator, Stacy Doris, who passed away in 2012. Doris discusses the political and poetic climate of the United States following the bombing of Afghanistan as well as the similarities between the work of poetry and the work of politics, describing both as an exchange between people. “If there’s one person who has been moved by it, you have been successful,” she says of the poetic exchange.  She also reads from her book Conference (Potes & Poets, 2001), and discusses the Sufi texts that inspired the “complexity of devotion” in that work. She concludes by reading from the work of Christophe Tarkos, a major force in French poetry, whose work Doris translated (along with Chet Wiener) and appears in Christophe Tarkos: Ma Langue est Poetique–Selected Work (Roof, 2001). —Angela Buck


 

Stacy Doris was born in Connecticut in 1962 and died in San Francisco in January 2012. The great differences among her six books written in English and four books written in French voice intense immediacy while working through layers of traditions, forms and fields from many places and times. Books in English include Fledge: A Phenomenology of Spirit (Nightboat Books, 2013), The Cake Part (Publication Studio, 2011), Knot (University of Georgia Press, 2006), Cheerleader’s Guide to the World : Council Book (NY: Roof 2006), Conference (Potes & Poets, 2001), Paramour (Krupskaya, 2000) and Kildare (Roof, 1995). In French: Parlement (P.O.L 2000). La vie de Chester Steven Wiener écrite par sa femme (P.O.L, 1998), Une année à New York avec Chester (P.O.L 2000).

Tony Trigilio with Lee Ann Roripaugh

Lee Ann Roripaugh
Lee Ann Roripaugh

In his monthly poetry podcast, Radio Free Albion, Tony Trigilio interviews poets about their recently released or forthcoming books. Always informal, each interview is a conversation—two poets talking about the work and play of the creative process and showcasing some of the most innovative new work in contemporary poetry. In this interview, Trigilio interviews Lee Ann Roripaugh.

 


Lee Ann Roripaugh is the author of four volumes of poetry, the most recent of which, , was released by Milkweed Editions in September 2014.  Her second volume, Year of the Snake (Southern Illinois University Press), was named winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in Poetry/Prose for 2004, and her first book, Beyond Heart Mountain (Penguin Books), was a 1998 winner of the National Poetry Series.  She serves as Editor-in-Chief of South Dakota Review and directs the Creative Writing program at the University of South Dakota.

Mary Cappello and Ayad Akhtar

Mary Cappello and Ayad Akhtar (photo credit: Nora Lewis)
Mary Cappello and Ayad Akhtar (photo credit: Nora Lewis)

2013 Pulitzer Prize Winning Dramatist, Ayad Akhtar, and 2011 Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction, Mary Cappello, discuss the formulation of turning points in the course of a life, the course of a career, and the course of a piece of writing; the spiritual (as distinct from religious) underpinnings of artistic practice; the place where a writing project begins and where it arrives; the literary traditions their work is in conversation with; the interplay of mastery and humility in the work of making art; and the pleasures and challenges involved in imagining audience. They also touch on teacher/student relationships: if, over twenty years ago, Akhtar was Cappello’s student, now she finds herself, his.

This conversation with Mary Cappello and Ayad Akhtar was recorded in the Hoffman Room at the University of Rhode Island’s 2014 Ocean State Summer Writing Conference (OSSWC).


Continue reading

Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Nada Gordon

Nada Gordon
Nada Gordon

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

This month from the Cross-Cultural Poetics archive, I’ve chosen an interview with poet Nada Gordon that originally aired in the fall of 2004. Gordon briefly discusses the eleven years that she lived in Tokyo, as well as the influence and subsequent reaction against the Haiku aesthetic in her work. She reads from the sonically rich and sprawling Are Not Our Lowing Heifers Sleeker Than Night-Swollen Mushrooms? (Spuyten Duyvil) and talks about the importance of cadence in this book, the desire to “beat out a pulse,” as well as to work against any set “rules of composition.” —Angela Buck Continue reading

The People: Mathew Timmons & Ben White with Janice Lee & Jared Woodland (Ep. 16)

The People with Insert Blanc Editor and Publisher Mathew Timmons and Insert Blanc Artist Ben White, features the voices and ideas of The People that make up the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, the west coast, and beyond on KCHUNG 1630AM every 3rd Sunday at 3pm and podcast on iTunes as The People Radio. The People is me, The People is you, The People is we, and You Can Too! … like a Broken Record magically repaired. In this issue of The Conversant, we feature The People episode 16 with Janice Lee and Jared Woodland.—Mathew Timmons and Ben White

Continue reading

Mary Cappello with Peter Covino

Peter Covino
Peter Covino

Literary nonfictionist Mary Cappello and poet Peter Covino interview each other on the matter of “beauty” in their work and the work they love to read; on anti-beauty, un-beauty, disruptive beauty, and uncontained beauty in poetry and the essay. On trauma and poetic practice; on writing violence and literary nonfiction; on letting the wild in; on queer Italian/Americana; on the contrapuntal and distillate forms; on lyrical space, confluent energies, writing light. And plaid. The conversation was recorded at the University of Rhode Island December 2012, by Justin H. Brierley for The Beauty Salon, a radio program that explores everyday aesthetics in and around Rhode Island.
Continue reading

Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Paul Vangelisti

Paul Vangelisti
Paul Vangelisti

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

For May, I’ve chosen an interview with poet and translator Paul Vangelisti. Vangelisti reflects on his long career in radio, as Cultural Affairs Director between 1974 and 1982 for KPFK, the flagship station for Pacifica, in Los Angeles, where he produced “Los Angeles Theater of the Ear.” “Conversation,” he says, “is something that radio does much better than anything else.” In addition, Vangelisti reads from his selected poems, Embarrassment of Survival, discusses his translations from the Italian (including the work of Adriano Spatola) and examines the historic distinction in American poetry between open and closed forms. “All poetry,” Vangelisti notes, “is closed, and all poetry is open.”  —Angela Buck

 


Paul Vangelisti is the author of some twenty books of poetry, as well as being a noted translator from Italian. In addition to his new book Wholly Falsetto with People Dancing, (an older man’s not-so-divine comedy), his most recent book of poems, Two, appeared in 2011. In 2006, Vangelisti and Lucia Re’s translation of Amelia Rosselli’s War Variations won both the Premio Flaiano in Italy and the PEN-USA Award for Translation. In 2010, his translation of Adriano Spatola’s The Position of Things: Collected Poems, 1961-1992 won the Academy of American Poets Raizzis/de Palchi Book Prize for Translation. From 1971-1982 he was co-editor, with John McBride, of the literary magazine Invisible City and, from 1993-2002, edited Ribot, the annual report of the College of Neglected Science. Currently, with Luigi Ballerini, he is editing a six-volume anthology of U.S. poetry from 1960 to the present, Nuova poesia americana, for Mondadori in Milan. Vangelisti is Founding Chair of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles.

Forrest Gander and Leonard Schwartz

Forrest Gander and Leonard Schwartz. Painting of Leonard Schwartz courtesy of Simon Carr.
Forrest Gander and Leonard Schwartz. Painting of Leonard Schwartz courtesy of Simon Carr.

This March, The Conversant asked some of its favorite interviewers to record conversations with poets that they admire—either at, or in the spirit of, AWP. Here Leonard Schwartz has invited Forrest Gander to participate in a mutual interview about both poets’ recent work.

Continue reading

Jonathan Stalling with Joseph Harrington

Joseph Harrington
Joseph Harrington

In 2007, I founded the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series. This series curates between 10 to 15 readings a year in Norman, Oklahoma and features poets spanning a broad spectrum of poetry communities and styles. Past poets who have read include Tom Raworth, Hank Lazer, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Arthur Sze, Natasha Tretheway, Myung Mi Kim, Charles Alexander, Joe Harrington, Afaa Weaver, Shin Yu Pai, Leonard Schwartz, Hugh Tribby, Gerald Stern, Sy Hoawhwah, Alexandra Teague, Kate Greenstreet, Dean Rader, Zhang Er, Julie Carr, Tim Roberts, Grant Jenkins, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Duo Duo, Wang Jiaxin, Glenn Mott, among many more. Continue reading

Tony Trigilio with Larry Sawyer

Larry Sawyer
Larry Sawyer

In his monthly poetry podcast, Radio Free Albion, Tony Trigilio interviews poets about their recently released or forthcoming books. Always informal, each interview is a conversation—two poets talking about the work and play of the creative process and showcasing some of the most innovative new work in contemporary poetry.

 

 

 


Larry Sawyer curates the Myopic Poetry Series in Chicago and is the co-director of the Chicago School of Poetics. His books include Unable to Fully California, Vertigo Diary and Breaking Lorca. He has edited milk magazine since 1998.

Rob Halpern with Andy Fitch

Rob Halpern
Rob Halpern

Over the summer, Andy Fitch interviewed 60 poets about their latest books. Ugly Duckling Presse will publish these collected interviews in 2013. This interview focuses on Halpern’s book Music for Porn (Nightboat). Recorded July 1st. Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: As I work through these interviews I’ve found myself tracking a resurgent interest in New Narrative—a sense that New Narrative poetics have not received their fair share of critical attention, have not been thought through sufficiently by a broad enough range of contemporary poets. You of course have helped to encourage this interest. Can you place Music for Porn in relation to several exemplary New Narrative poets, texts and/or concepts? Does it make sense to speak of a second-generation self-consciously consolidating inherited insights, experiments, practices? Or do New Narrative’s deft evasions of conventional literary categorization preclude such distinctions in the first place?

Rob Halpern: Where to begin with my relation to New Narrative? I’d been out of school seven years before I found myself in Dodie Bellamy’s writing workshop in 1996. One crucial forum for nourishing young Bay Area writers is this network of writing workshops that take place in writers’ homes. Finding myself in Dodie’s workshop (with Kevin Killian participating) allowed me to realize that my writing actually might be legible. After the death of my first love, James, in 1995, I’d lived in a state of terrible doubt and uncertainty—not only about the readability of my work but whether a writing community existed for me. Yet by then, forces of attraction already had taken over. In the late ’80s, when I arrived in San Francisco, I’d looked up three writers who I knew lived here and with whom I felt a sense of affinity and desire for apprenticeship. I actually looked up, in the phone book, Robert Glück, Aaron Shurin and Kathy Acker, and just by way of a cold call I sent them each a naive fan letter, together with what must have been a crappy piece of writing. I dropped these cold calls into the void of the U.S. postbox. After several months, I received generous, encouraging responses from both Aaron and Bob. Never heard from Kathy. Perhaps she’d already left San Francisco. But the fact that I received positive responses from Bob and Aaron was incredibly important. It offered a departure point of sorts, a permission-giver, though it would take five more years before I’d actually meet Bob through Dodie’s workshop (I met Aaron sooner). Bob also ran a workshop out of his home, and I began to attend that in 1997. He became a crucial mentor, a teacher and now he’s a dear friend, as is Bruce Boone, who makes a cameo early in Music for Porn, in the first sentences of “Envoi,” which serves as a kind of introduction to the book. Bruce’s Century of Clouds and My Walk with Bob remain classic New Narrative works, and my “Envoi” invokes Bruce’s writing, in part because I fear Music for Porn betrays New Narrative values. So “Envoi” rehearses a moment from a walk I took with Bruce, when he asked about my book’s obsessively recurrent figure of the male soldier. For Music for Porn to pass as New Narrative, that soldier would need to be a person in my life with a nameable name. Instead, the soldier feels more like a negative imprint of all my social relations—a feeling I announce by citing this conversation with my friend Bruce. Of course the soldier, sadly, will never become my friend, which helps suggest the stakes in this book, and why friendship remains so crucial to its structure. In “Envoi” I write, “This would be the place in the story where Bruce asks me about the figure of the soldier in my book, and whether it has some bearing on my intimate life, or whether the soldier is merely an abstraction is the flesh real? and I’m struck by his manner of asking.” Bruce’s question contains serious implications for my writing, and I want to foreground this while simultaneously introducing the soldier as a cornerstone in the architecture of a fantasy. This departs from early New Narrative works such as My Walk with Bob or Robert Glück’s Elements of a Coffee Service, both of which were formative for me. I can’t imagine myself as a writer without that work. At the same time, I feel as though I’ve departed from both texts’ writerly values, insofar as Music for Porn privileges a critical fantasy over the narration of living relationships. That said, Music for Porn’s soldier fantasy seems inseparable from my lived social relations. And here I could point to a tension I feel I’ve inherited between New Narrative practice (developed among primarily gay writers in the early ’80s) and a politics of form that one might say characterizes Bay Area Language writing, if not Language writing in general, whose rigorous critique of conventional narrative values also has shaped my poetics. I don’t want to reproduce familiar generalizations, though. New Narrative shares an equal investment in form yet proceeds from a different political stance and probes distinct formal problems. In my own talks and essays such as “The Restoration of [Bob Perelman’s] ‘China,’” I’ve attempted to rethink this relationship between New Narrative and Language, for example, by way of Soup magazine’s second issue, edited by Steve Abbott, who christened the phrase “New Narrative.” That prescient journal issue articulates and illustrates what this “New Narrative” project might look like. Most impressive about that issue of Soup is Steve’s decision to include a wide range of writers representing divergent literary practices—creating conditions for what Jacques Rancière calls “dissensus,” or the perceptible presence of two worlds in one. Steve’s expansive editorial vision provides new possibilities for presenting tensions among various poetic approaches within a complicated early ’80s Bay Area writing ecology. Similarly, in early issues of Poetics Journal, Barrett Watten and Lyn Hejinian adopt practices of inclusion, again to make legible productive tensions and differences. Only in the afterlife of such projects, amid what often go by the name of the “poetry wars,” do we think of these dynamic, syncretic, symbiotic writing communities as discrete, segregated, sectarian schools. So here I’ve offered a circuitous response to your question. I too find those historical tensions outlined above quite productive. I’d like to think that my work engages and complicates the relationship between both projects—through its movement toward narrative, certainly, but a narrative as indebted to Lyn Hejinian’s and Carla Harryman’s mode of distributive narrative (or non/narrative) as to forms of storytelling that I learned through my apprenticeship to Bruce’s and Bob’s work. Continue reading